Three Poems by Leo Boix
Robert Lowell in Buenos Aires
A thousand miles from nowhere
his nerves shattered, and there
he saw stupefied crowds descend
on Teniente General Perón Street
heading to Casa Rosada, the port.
Foretold all the golpes de Estado
from a faux Neoclassical balcony,
generals advancing fast, passing
the pawns, knights, archbishops
crossing themselves at high mass.
Soon there would be a checkmate.
At Recoleta cemetery he touched
the breasts of marbled goddesses,
Eva’s relief. He saw a full ghost
with machine guns, a big sickle,
playing chess on a ruined tomb.
The Coyote Teodora
Hens’ eggs, maize soup,
and in the oven, a suckling pig.
But they are poor.
How did you buy all these treats?
as though she hasn’t heard.
Eat man, eat!
Arepas, empanadas, goat
in coconut milk.
Day by day he grows suspicious.
Follows her to the market,
smells her clothes.
One night, he lays awake,
sees her leave the marital bed,
hears strange prayers from the kitchen.
peeps through the crack
in the door—
she turns around three times to the right,
then three times to the left,
and this is what he sees:
a coyote running—running
into the neighbours’ barnyards, henhouses,
pillaging their larders.
He goes to the priest.
Three lashes with a rope, sprinkle milk
when she changes. She’ll never be Coyote again.
But he sprinkles it too soon.
Her head and upper body, a woman’s,
her hindquarters that of a coyote.
She can’t be fixed, and flees.
His dinner at the kitchen table:
one small egg, dusty water, pan de ayer.
Goldfinch Comes To Tell Us There’s
A Fire At The End Of Our Garden, He
on my hand,
carries bad news, a fire broke out
in our courtyard, puffs out
his bronze chest, then begins his report.
by the chair
there’s something bursting sparks, he’s surprised
how fast flames grow in size,
how thunderous they are. He can’t believe
not one bit.
He explains, his black and yellow wings
fluttering fast: charred string,
scorched twigs, half-burnt feathers and a corpse.
picks up speed, he cannot stop. Crackling
sounds grow louder, flashing
flames on our plane tree. Fire surrounds us.
house, bins, the
ivy climbed by dark orange glares, sky
turns ominous, ash flies,
and there, at the end of our garden
the giant ball
glows a bright red, maroon, resplendent
blowing shards, magenta.
It takes us a lifetime to see it.
Cover image by VJAnderson via Flickr (cc)
About the Author:
Leo Boix is a Latinx bilingual poet born in Argentina who lives and works in the UK. Boix has published two poetry collections in Spanish, and has been included in many anthologies, such as Ten: Poets of the New Generation (Bloodaxe), Islands Are But Mountains: Contemporary Poetry from Great Britain (Platypus Press), The Best New British and Irish Poets Anthology 2019 (Eyewear Publishing) and Un Nuevo Sol: British Latinx Writers (flipped eye). His poems have appeared in POETRY, PN Review, The Poetry Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, Ambit, The Manchester Review, The White Review, Letras Libres, Magma, The Rialto, The Morning Star and elsewhere. He is a fellow of The Complete Works Program and co-director of Invisible Presence, an Arts Council England national scheme to nurture new voices of Latinx writers in the UK. Boix is the recipient of the Keats-Shelley Prize 2019. His debut English collection will be published by Chatto & Windus (Penguin/Random House) in 2021.